An often forgotten aspect of green living is shopping small businesses. These are the shops that give our community personality. The owners generally have a passion for what they do and are thrilled when you walk through the door. In the last Shop Small post (Kimmer’s Ice Cream), I mentioned that I was still pretty full from lunch and that restaurant was going to be the next Shop Small spot. Well, you’re going to have to wait for that one…we’re going on a road trip. Not far, in fact, you can leave after work and make it before they close the kitchen at Evil Czech Brewery.
First off, this place is crazy cool. Even though it’s a brewery, the kids were welcome (over 21 only for their outdoor beer garden & bar area, though).
Obviously a drink (to chill out the “Evil Czech”) was necessary. They have a binder full of descriptions for the countless beers they brew in-house. You can create your own flight (yes, you can buy the cool glasses and flight board too) with as many different beers as you’d like. Kids- their house made root beer is fantastic too.
While we don’t usually order too many appetizers, mama was hungry, so we “had to” try their fried guacamole and fresh baked pretzel with beer cheese. The guac wasn’t my favorite, but I could have licked clean the beer cheese container! The pretzel was great too, but the beer cheese was the star: I ended up putting in on my schnitzel sandwich also.
Really, though, let’s get right down to why you should drive 2 hours for dinner tonight. My fourteen year old daughter (a chef in the making) took the waitress’s recommendation and went with the “PBBJ” Burger. Presentation alone was cool- all burgers come in these awesome wood boxes (yes, they’re for sale).
So, what’s on this bad boy? Peanut butter, journeyman’s bacon bourbon jam, smoked Gouda cheese, and pickled jalapenos. Thankfully, my daughter was generous enough to share a bite. Minus the peppers…this was strangely one of the best combinations I’ve ever tried. I mean bacon bourbon jam- c’mon!
My favorite part, of course, is that all of the food is locally sourced. Produce comes from the fantastic farmers market down the road (we hit that spot the next day), and the meat/poultry (antibiotic & hormone-free) local farms are even listed on the menu.
It’s this attention to sustainability, freshness, and supporting other local businesses/farmers that is indispensable, and a fabulous “side-effect” of shopping small.
So, head up for dinner tonight (or go tomorrow because the farmer’s market isn’t open on Sunday). Technically Evil Czech Brewery is in Mishawaka, but I’m not really sure where South Bend ends and Mishawaka begins. They have another location in Culver, IN, but that’s a little further drive for the PBBJ.
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Evil Czech Brewery
3703 N. Main Street